Thursday, July 31, 2008

Allergic to August

I don't know if it's the hot sticky weather, the slowly browning grass, the overload of "back-to-school" busyness, the staleness of my house after being overloaded with kids and various summer gear for 3 straight months, or the lethargic looking flowers that haven't already pooped out, but my body (and mind) have decided that I am DEFINITELY allergic to August.

The month seeped into my life bringing with it my third headcold of the summer - a doozy, which promptly morphed into a sinus infection of epic proportions. I think that triggered an acute allergic reaction to all places air conditioned.

It seemes that my system has finally said "enough!" to whatever is blowing through the air conditioning vents in my house, car, or any other public building. Maybe it's the chemical freon that cools the air or some microscopic thing growing inside the airvents at this time of year, I don't know. All I know, is that I'm fine outdoors, but indoors, I just can't breathe.



that's not so great when it's 98 degrees and


oh, about 81% humidity

So now you know, not wanting to stay home and clean house is only part of the reason I'm at the pool so much!!!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And He Grew

...and grew strong as a boy

must grow who does not know

that he is learning any lessons, and

who has nothing in the world to

think of except things to eat.

~Rudyard Kipling


I was just remembering a sweet experience that happened a few weeks ago. One that I made a mental note to write down, and then didn't. I was not feeling well and my son wanted me to do something with him. I think I might have had a headache or something. He responded by offering to give me a blessing. And so he did. I am so grateful to know that, at five, he has learned that he has the potential to offer wonderful priesthood blessings to those he loves.
He has learned this from his father's great example as well as from the hours spent at church each Sunday. Hours spent fidgeting, fussing, flopping, and yes, foraging for food.
I now had tangible proof that my husband and I have been doing something right. What a wonderful feeling when you realize that all of your hard work is actually making a difference!

Remembering these small moments gives me strength to keep plowing through those sluggish scripture sessions, frustrating Family Home Evenings, and sleepy Sunday mornings, when I get discouraged and feel like pulling the covers up over my head.
'Oh, remember my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.' ~Alma 37:35

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Retail Victory

gloat: \ˈglōt\ intransitive verb, origin date: 1605
to observe or think about something with triumphant and often malicious satisfaction, gratification, or delight
— gloat·er noun
— gloat·ing·ly adverb

Well, I just couldn't resist posting my latest small triumph. I've read about people who leave a grocery store with a cartful of groceries and more money than they walked in with. You know those occasional articles in newsstand magazines that applaud some woman's knack for getting tons of food absolutely free (a lot of which is overly processed and laden with fat and salt, ... but that's a topic for another day). The ones with the latest diet fads of the rich and famous (or infamous, is more like it).


Yeah, I'll admit, sometimes I go there.

So yesterday was my day to leave a store with more dinero than I came in with. Never thought it would happen to me- of course I haven't really tried that hard at it, but I know it's not easy to do.

Nevermind that all I got was a box of bandaids (the good fabric kind, mind you), and that I'll have to spend my $1.93 windfall (after I paid the 7 cents in tax) at that particular store (because it came in the form of store "bucks"). Details, minor details.

But, I can chalk up a new experience now.

It felt good!

Now if I could only figure out how to do that more often...

Monday, July 28, 2008

'Til We 'Meet' Again



It has been a week since I survived eight hours at the Koury (arriving at 6:45 am) watching my champs swim their hearts out.


Early birds!

The Calm before the Storm



"Swimmers Take Your Mark"

It was a really close (and fierce!) competition!

Exhausting, emotionally draining

for all involved (especially me) .....

We're generally not a sports-minded family. Take-em or leave-em


Then why did my eyes mist over (more than once)? Why did my chest feel so on fire???
(this is just a sporting event, for crying out loud!)

Eeew, that's a lot of wet kids and towels....


It's different when you're watching your own little girls,


and you've been there for

every hour of practice,

every swim meet leading up to this day,

watched as the fractions of a second

were shaved off over time, seen the

lights in their eyes


when awarded their ribbons
or just being part of the team



I just realized that it will be a whole year before I hear this again:

(Push Play)
Posted by Picasa



video




Soul, Satisfaction, give me some of that action!




Shakee GO GO, Shakee GO GO





So long (coach) Kevin, we'll miss you




Until we 'meet' again...











Sunday, July 20, 2008

Let's get this Party Started!

HHRC Psyche-up Party


Our Hurricanes get ready for CHAMPS!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How do I love thee? Let me cownt the ways



How to brighten up an otherwise mundane evening





a little facepaint, a lot of chicken, a dancing cow




I had been in a funk the last few days thinking about big changes coming up for two of the great loves of my life. My sweetheart girl is starting middle school. I was just thinking about how she called herself "Fifi" when she was just two and couldn't pronounce her name. Middle school?



Then there's Halibut, my shadow for the past five years, going off to kindergarten. How many trips to the park, how many stops at 'bageltown' (panera), how many extra things in my grocery cart? Wish I'd counted them now. Wish I'd thought less about how much I wasn't getting done.


They are growing up so fast - and yet, tonight they still love facepaint. They still laugh at the dancing cow and take a balloon. Their eyes still light up when we announce "next stop, Locopops". What a relief!
There's still lots more kid inside each one.


Tonight has been good. I feel so much better, ...for now.
,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Treasure Hunt Surrogate


Anyone who knows me very well knows that I love finding a bargain. It used to be garage sales when I was a teenager, then my friend Ernie introduced me to the mystique of "dead man shops" (thrift stores). It's amazing what you can find at a great dead man's shop!

One of my favorite things to do is to go "hunting" with my kids to see who can find the best treasure. We had a great time! --especially when I was still building my Beatrix Potter collection.

I love the Old Lady who Lived in a Shoe figurine that I scooped up for $1 from a roadside junk sale which sells for over $65 on ebay (it's in the box with the rest of my Potter collection). I love my antique blue glass canning jars. I love that I found Cole Haan shoes and a Brighton bag (still in the box!) at a fraction of their retail cost--even if I don't use them much. I loved the french coffee table book that I bought for $1 and resold on Amazon for $30. I love giving new life to sad little castoffs (ie, junk)!


But, alas my modest square footage overfloweth! Plus the sticker shock at the gas pump has taken it's toll on such frivolity!


But, isn't there a saying "you can take the dog out of the hunt, but you can't take the hunt out of the dog" ? Or did I just make that up? Well it should be a saying!


So, my treasure hunting time is now spent at the grocery store, which, depending on the growing amounts of non-food items piled in there, sometimes resembles dead-man shops!
I've found that navigating the grocery pricing maze is even more challenging than maneuvering through the most precarius flea market.
It takes a lot of strategy to outwit retailers' myriad of ploys to separate me from my money.
But is all the circular gazing and coupon organizing worth it? Or will I just end up buying stuff I don't really need because it seemed like a good deal? and, I just can't see myself reminiscing about that time I found a great deal on the Cheerios.
Anyway, here's a list of my best loot for the week:
6 boxes of Cheerios @ 1.25/ea
Airwick nightlight oil warmer - free
2 boxes of Curves cereal @ .50/ea
2 bottles Ajax dish soap @ .79/ea
Bayer Heart Advantage aspirin @ .49
2 Suave shampoo & Conditioner @ .47/each
2 suave antiperspirant @ .47/ea
2 suave hairsprays @ .47/ea
3 suave advanced therapy lotion @ .47/ea

cracked up


"Okay, now tap it a little harder.

A little harder.

Good, now pull the sides apart.

Pull apart.

No, don't squeeze.

Don't squeeze it.

Ok. let go, I'll show you.

let go.

Ugh.
I said don't squeeze.

Here's a paper towel."
Ever wonder at what age a child can actually crack an egg by himself? Well, I can tell you right now it's NOT five! I'm wondering how many times my kitchen has heard this dialogue between me and one of my children over the years. I'm also wondering when 'eggsactly' was the last time I cracked an egg by myself. There's something magical to a young child about cracking an egg. Maybe it's the joy of being allowed to break something. Maybe there's the slightest chance that something different is inside there. I don't know.
For as long as I can remember, my kids have come running to the kitchen when they realize the egg carton is out of the fridge. Probably because it usually means cookie dough or cake batter is in the mixer since we don't generally eat a lot of eggs for meals. Maybe it's because "mom has to pick one of us over the rest to crack the egg, and it could be me, and this will prove once and for all that she loves me most." Hmm.
It took a while but finally I learned a few years ago to break eggs in a separate clear (or at least not white) bowl:
"Ok, now you can't pour it in yet.
Hold on, I have pick the shells out."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gazpacho!



The great thing about having extra cucumbers around the kitchen is finding fun new things to do with them beyond the salad! So the other day I whipped up a batch of Gazpacho! I'd never made it before but decided to give it a shot. The whole thing took me about 20 minutes and I just used what I had - no special peppers or anything, and canned tomatoes! It actually turned out pretty good - Probably wouldn't impress Martha Stewart or anything, but I don't see myself inviting her over for lunch anytime soon.
Soup or Salsa? I guess I'm just not used to eating cold chunky soups, because, even without any peppers whatsoever, I couldn't resist eating this by scooping it up on a tortilla chip. Oh well, whatever works!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hello Jack

So, I just want to send a big thanks to my niece Kylea and her new husband Eric for introducing me to the music of Jack Johnson. They just started their own blog, "Better Together" (so cute)- in which they promise to chronical newlywed life - I can't wait to read all about their adventures...

Anyway, their blog "Better Together" sports the same title of a song by Jack Johnson and they have the song playing on their playlist. I had never heard it (or of him) before but I fell instantly in love... I don't usually have much reaction to music. I can generally take it or leave it. I own very few CD's. Even in high school there was very little that moved me. When my friends had multiple layers of posters on their walls portraying the latest and greatest MTV heartthrobs, I stuck with my one-and-only, Sting. Finally he (and his brooding) started to get on my nerves. Now his songs all transport me back to those horrible years of teenage angst....ugh.

It's rare, but occasionally I'll hear a song or a particular artist that just speaks to me, and I tend to fall hard. Now, I'm odd when it comes to music and my taste (with the exception of Mr. Sumner) has never been mainstream. I remember trying in vain to find anything by Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole while living in Utah, and the blank looks of Borders employees when I asked for a choral version of Pachelbel's Canon that I'd heard (turned out to be the boys' group Libera, which is AMAZING).

Now, I was surprised to find out that Jack Johnson has 4 albums (do they still call them that?) and is on 6 soundtracks and about 32 music compilations, and the only song I had ever heard of his before was something with a weird title and weirder lyrics: Bubble Toes(?) ..."her feet are infested with tarballs"(?) ... uh, yeah. I was not surprised the trip down Target's CD aisle was fruitless.

But what I heard on Ky and Eric's blog, I liked, alot. So, rather than look like a total idiot and continually log on to their page just to listen to their favorite songs, I went on a quest, and figured out how to make a playlist of my own and added the neat little gatchet here. I'm sure I'm showing my age here - it took me all afternoon to figure the thing out.

I'm sure that I'm my own most frequent visitor.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Teamwork


A litttle while ago I wrote that I had never canned anything. Well, I'm learning never to say "never"!
We went up to the Fisher's in King, NC for the 4th of July weekend and they had gone up to Virginia and bought a bushel of apples. I didn't even know apples were ripe yet - always associated them with fall. Anyway, we all had a good time making applesauce with them.
About 3/4 of the way through, it started raining.
The kids loved wearing Grandma's aprons.
My mother in law is a veteran canner andknows all the rules and tricks by heart. So she is a great teacher. The whole process went very smoothly and faster than I thought it would. Unfortunately I wasn't able get a photo of her in her cute 4th of July apron.



It's amazing to watch your kids find joy in work. This is always easier when the task is something new and interesting.



It's especially easy to find smiles when the work will most likely be followed by one of Grandpa's famous ice-cream trips!


Unfortunately I wasn't feeling well for most of the time and pooped out midway. I couldn't resist taking a few photos, though.
Thankfully we had a couple of hardworkers who volunteered to do the clean-up part. I think we used every big bowl and pan in the house! They deserve a second scoop! Not bad for a Saturday morning's work!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Angelfish Trivia



This is one of those e-mail surveys that you get and respond to if you have nothing better to do - or, in my case, you're procrastinating doing anything constructive.

Anyway,
I thought it was a pretty good snapshot of me for posterity.

Today is July 8, 2008
1. What time did you get up this morning? 8:30-ish
2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies? Wall-e (at the drive-in!)
4.What is your favorite TV show? Lost
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? cereal
6. What is your middle name? DeNae
7. What food do you dislike? Greek
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Jack Johnson- In Between Dreams
9. What kind of car do you drive? Lexus 470LX
10. Favorite sandwich? anything with avocado, but nothing on rye
11. What characteristic do you despise? manipulativeness
12. Favorite item of clothing? jeans that fit, gap t-shirt (see photo)
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Hawaii
14. Favorite brand of clothing? LonnieQ
15. Where would you retire to if you could? Chapala, Mexico
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? I forgot
17. Favorite sport to watch? HHRC swimming, diving
18. Where is the farthest place you are sending this? Utah
19. Person you expect to send it back first? mom
20. Three things you need to work on. organization, exercise, procrastination
21. Since you "know what you know now", what would you have done differently? lots
22. Are you a morning person or a night person? in between
23. What is your shoe size? 9
24. Pets? my kids have pets, I have kids
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? I've lost 7 pounds!
26. What did you want to be when you were little? a kid forever
27. How are you today? awake
28. If everyone knew your biggest secret about yourself, would you lose friends? I hope not
29. What is your favorite flower? Passion-flower
30. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? July 19th - swim championships
31. What gets on your last nerve? nagging
32. What is your full name? that's confidential
33. What are you listening to right now? White Sandy Beach of Hawaii - Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole
34. What was the last thing you ate? egg sandwich
35. Do you wish on stars? whenever I can
36. If you were a crayon, what color would you want to be? aqua
37. How is the weather right now? Overcast and 80's, humid
38. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Olivia
39. Favorite drink? any Jamba Juice
40. Favorite restaurants? Panera Bread
41. Hair color? summer-orangey/yellow
42. What was your favorite toy as a child? Barbies
43. Summer or winter? In between (spring, fall)
44. Hugs or kisses? Hugs
45. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
46. Coffee or tea? herb tea
47. Do you want your friends to email you back? YES!!
48. When was the last time you cried? watching president Hinckley's funeral
49. What is under your bed? food storage
50. What did you do last night? watched BigT & kids light fireworks
51. What are you afraid of? being buried alive
52. Salty or sweet? Sweet
53. How many keys on your key ring? 1
54. How many years at your current job? 23
55. Favorite day of the week? Sunday
56. How many towns have you lived in? 12
57. Do you make friends easily? not really
58. How many people will you send this to? 7
59. How many will respond? don't know
60. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? Yes!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fruits of His Labors



Well, it finally happened. Tonight my dear husband was not just happy, but thrilled to be eating beans (and only beans) for dinner. Normally I would never consider such a thing - the very mention of a "meatless" meal would have serious consquences (the sighs, the forlorn expression, the droopy posture, you get the idea).


But these were not just beans. Oh, no, they, along with the perfect cucumber, are his 'first harvest" of 2008!
And let me tell you, this event is no 'small potatoes' :) - these babies were started from seed way back in March. No cheating by planting store-bought plants! Big T got the brilliant idea of warming up the soil of the seed trays by placing them on a heating pad. I had countertops full of teeny green sprouts in my kitchen for two months until after the first frost.
And this is his garden, start to finish. I'm not big on vegetable gardening. Could be because I was sent out to gather tomatoes as a clumsy 13 year old and stumbled, tearing the stitches in my knee that I had acquired at camp. That's the memory I have when I smell that tomato-plant smell. And did I mention that I've never canned a thing? ...Not yet anyway.

Watching my husband putter in his garden until after dark is all very entertaining to me because, until recently, I had not realized that I had married a farmer. Here I thought I'd caught an accountant! Apparently it's in his genes - at least a few generations of Fishers have been farmers. It's neat the way it seems to be so natural to him.


So what goes into growing such a perfect first harvest? Well,...


a lot of time
a lot of water
a lot of sun
a lot of string
a lot of bamboo
a lot of deer repellant
a lot of prayers,
a lot of waiting,
and a whole lotta love!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The importance of Number 5


Yesterday I came across this list that I wrote during
Women's Conference two years ago. The class was on being "lighthearted but not lightminded" and I had just came out of one on the subject of "finding joy in motherhood".
Now, during this particular time in my life I was not doing a very good job of being lighthearted or finding that elusive mothering joy. We were then coming up on the third year of trying to sell our house in Texas, it was May and already getting hot and I had hoped to have seen my last sticky summer there. That plus trying to keep my house model-clean with 4 kids living in it (ages 3,5,7,& 9) had pretty much squashed the lighthearted joy right out of me.
So I was amazed at how really quickly I was able to do the assignment (and you can see evidence of my mindset at the beginning of the list- then I sort of came to my senses as I got closer to #1):
25 things that Make Me Smile (me,2006)
25. NO ANTS! (fleas, mosquitoes, roaches, etc.) in the house
24. the smell of clean sheets
23. a clean house
22. eating out (no cooking, no cleaning!)
21. dropping kids off at school
20. picking kids up from school
19.the smell of homemade bread
18.making cookies with my boy and girls
17. watching Big Tuna play with the kids
16. morning snuggles - kids in my bed
15. putting kids in their own beds at night
14. getting new scrapbook stuff
13. seeing my kids enjoy their scrapbooks
12.walks on the beach
11. watching my kids play together
10.letters and emails from friends
9. finding a great bargain
8. movie marathons with big T
7. Halibut's new words
6. Grouper's arm kisses
5. getting flowers from my kids
4. evening family walks
3. family prayers
2. my Temple marriage
1. knowlege of my Heavenly Father's love for me
Now, did you notice #5? Number 5 is the whole point of this post. I don't remember when my girls first started bringing me flowers - my pansies, weeds, the neighbor's prize roses - it didn't matter - all blooms were fair game. It was just what girls do. They even risked incarceration for picking bluebonnets in Texas (it's illegal) and I have the pictures to prove it! As they've grown older (and come to understand it's not polite to raid the neighbors flower gardens) I've received fewer and fewer blossoms.
So the other day when Halibut grabbed a fistful of leggy blooms growing beside the tennis court and brought them to me, I was thrilled. He had never made such a gesture before. No one taught him that he should do this - he was just thinking it might make me happy. Well, I made a big fuss abut it and he was so proud when we displayed them. (see green bottle, above)
The next thing I knew, he was bringing in armloads of brand new hydrangea blossoms from my only source of color in an otherwise monochromatic green, green, and more green yard. By then Orca noticed and decided to do likewise. They were filling every cup and bowl in the kitchen! By that time I had forgotten all about "number 5" and told them both, "Don't pick any more hydrangeas!"
Silence. Their smiles quickly disappeared.
Ugh!
I quickly tried to undo what I had just done by explaining that we don't have to pick all of the pretty flowers we see. Halibut's quiet little response:
But I thought they were beautiful
yes, they are. More now than ever.